Vital haemophilia drugs go out of stock at govt hospitals

Vital haemophilia drugs go out of stock at govt hospitals

Manju, a haemophilia patient, met with an accident last week and sustained multiple fractures and a brain bleed.

His surgery has been postponed indefinitely as prothrombin, a life-saving haemophilia drug, is not available at K C General Hospital (KCGH).

KCGH has run out of stock of critical haemophilia drugs - factor VIII and prothrombin - in the last two months, said a member of Haemophilia Society, Bangalore.

It is the only government hospital in Bangalore which provides free haemophilia drugs to poor patients.

A daily dose of prothrombin, which may cost Manju Rs 27,000, is not easily available in the open market.

Supply was delayed in the past as well. “In 2007-08, for more than a year, there was no medicine supply. We lost almost seven patients then,” said Ranjana, general secretary of Haemophilia Society.

Haemophilia patients suffer from a genetic disorder, which prevents their blood from clotting after an injury, due to the absence of clotting factors VIII or IX.

The few drugs, which help their blood clot and avert a life-threatening condition, may cost between Rs 2,500 to Rs 27,000 per day.

To help poor patients meet the exorbitant treatment cost, the State government has been offering the drugs free of cost at select hospitals.

Chandraprabha, medical supervisor at KCGH, who was initially unaware that factor VIII was out of stock, said they would procure it soon.

But a senior official of the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare ruled out the possibility of early procurement of these drugs and said it was unlikely that they would be available before October.

Government hospitals prepare an indent every year specifying the quantity of different drugs they need, which are then procured through a tender, he said. “The next round of tenders are due only in October,” he said.

Shivarudra Swamy, chief supervisor of drugs at Karnataka Drugs, Logistics and Warehouse Society (KDLWS), the agency which procures drugs, said he had provided KCGH with the quantity of the haemophilia drugs they had asked for in the indent.

“We also diverted unused drugs from other institutions to the hospital,” he said. But officials concerned at KDLWS failed to provide a detailed record of the drugs they had supplied to KCGH since last year.

Explaining the shortfall at KCGH, the senior official said the hospital should have estimated its requirement more diligently last year. While the government agencies seem to be stuck in apathy and red tape, it is the patients who are paying the price.

The anti-hemophilic drugs used to be available at Victoria and Bowring hospitals as well.

“We have no idea why Victoria and Bowring have stopped providing them,” Ranjana said.

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